With the Ultimate Fighter struggling to draw ratings on FX like the long-running reality series did on Spike TV the casting of coaches on the next season could be a crucial component in helping the show regain its foothold as a flagship program. In that vein, UFC light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar has been actively campaigning for a shot to lead a team against former 205-pound champion Forrest Griffin. The two are among the company’s most popular athletes and, as any fan worth a lick knows, helped launch MMA’s popularity into the stratosphere thanks to an extremely entertaining outing at the original TUF Finale as two of the finalists.
Unfortunately, it appears UFC President Dana White isn’t keen on the idea as he made clear to media this past weekend after the UFC 146 press conference.
“I know that’s what he wants (but) we usually bring in guys that are champions,” said White in a video captured by MMAWeekly. “Stephan and Forrest, believe me, you guys know I love Stephan and Forrest. We celebrate Stephan and Forrest every day. But it’s not going to happen.”
Though TUF 15 featured bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz as a coach, more often than not the show has not in fact featured gold being up for grabs with the previous season involving Jason Miller-Michael Bisping serving as a recent example. More specifically, of the fifteen American seasons a belt has only been involved four times (counting TUF 4 where winners earned title-shots rather than were coached by champions).
However, as it stands now, Bonnar and Griffin appear to be out of the running for TUF 16. The season is expected to make its debut this fall with a “real time” format featuring live fights each week.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC